Africa in the Spotlight

Côte d’Ivoire – New Cassava Varieties Bring Women Autonomy

Women farmers in Côte d'Ivoire are achieving greater autonomy and economic independence thanks to new varieties of cassava.

Uganda’s ‘Haunted’ Children Slow to Receive Medical Help

On a wet earth littered with fresh fruit from a large mango tree in Tumangu village in northern Uganda, Betty Olana (42) sits on a papyrus mat watching over four emaciated children infected by the mysterious nodding syndrome that leaves victims mentally challenged and nodding repeatedly when they see food or cold water.

“Not a Famine, but an Issue of Food Insecurity”

Millions of Angola’s poorest families are facing critical food insecurity as a prolonged dry spell across large parts of the country has destroyed harvests and killed off livestock.

Jane Karuku, the new AGRA boss, dreams of seeing smallholder farmers become the drivers in Africa

Q&A: Women Farmers Are Key to a Food-Secure Africa

While women constitute the majority of food producers, processors and marketers in Africa, their role in the agricultural sector still remains a minor one because of cultural and social barriers.

Gladys Otabil holds her son Gabriel as he receives the pneumoccocal vaccine at La General Hospital in Accra.  Credit: Jamila Akweley Okertchiri/IPS

Major Effort to Reduce Child Mortality Not Enough

Ghana has taken a major step towards reducing its under-five mortality rate by becoming the first African country to introduce two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.

Malawi President Joyce Banda (left) and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a women

Africa’s Two Female Presidents Join Forces for Women

The only two female heads of state in Africa, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Malawian President Joyce Banda, have just committed to using their positions to improve the lives of women across the continent.

Getting water is a daily chore for this woman in Swaziland.  Credit: Mantoe Phakathi/IPS

Q&A: Water Infrastructure Falls Far Short in Southern Africa

The cost of maintaining and expanding water infrastructure in southern Africa is high. And while South Africa may be in a better economic position than the rest of the region, it also faces funding challenges that are similar to those of its neighbours.

In Mauritania mobile phones are used in rural areas. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Q&A: Skipping Lunch to Afford a Mobile Phone in Africa

On a continent of over one billion people, where half the population have mobile phones, the use of mobile communication and internet technologies is crucial to boost development in Africa.

Action Plan to End Banishing of “Witches” in Burkina Faso

It's called "the bearing of the body" in Burkina Faso: when a death is deemed suspicious and a group of men carry the corpse through the community, believing the deceased will guide them towards the person responsible for the death. The accused - almost always women – are then chased out of their homes.

GUINEA-BISSAU-MALI: ECOWAS Talking Softer, But Still Holding Big Stick

Regional leaders meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on May 3 appeared to slightly retreat from their positions against coup leaders in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, but the Economic Community of West African States continues to press for a speedy return to constitutional rule in both countries.

Encouraging business in Africa will help reach the MDGs.  Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

Governments Can’t Do It Alone

African countries need more support from the private sector in order to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015, which include important development targets like poverty reduction, and improved health and education.

Child combatants had been seen in the ranks of the Tuareg rebels in Mali.  Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Child Soldiers Used in Mali Conflict

It was tough for Hassan Toure to decide to stay in his small town on the outskirts of Kidal, in northern Mali. The government troops had withdrawn on Mar. 30, and several armed groups, including militias and bandits, were operating in the region.

Members of the Murle group displaced by ethnic violence await food distribution in Gumuruk, Pibor county, in South Sudan

Disarmament Sparks Violence in South Sudan

Civil society groups are calling on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to withdraw support from a disarmament programme they say could spark further violence in South Sudan’s volatile Jonglei state.

Cashew Producers’ Pain Is Intermediaries’ Gain in Senegal

Cashew nut growers in the southern Senegalese region of Casamance are complaining bitterly that intermediaries are cutting them out of a fair share of the profits.

Morocco Still Divided Over Marriage of Minors

The widespread practice of marrying minors continues to be one of the most incendiary legal and political issues in Morocco today, causing open confrontations between hard-line Islamists and moderates throughout the country.

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